Our Museum marks the centenary of the 1917 February and October revolutions in Russia with the Tsarskoe Selo 1917: On the Eve… exhibition, organized with participation from the State Archive of the Russian Federation in Moscow.
Held at the Cameron Gallery from 29 June 2017 through October 2018, the exhibition tells about the imperial summer residence and its owners in a borderline period between the two revolutions, when the epoch of the monarchy ceded to a new one that finally erupted with the October revolt.
Deprived of its imperial status, during that period Tsarskoe Selo was still the residence of Nicholas, who lived with his family in the Alexander Palace as Citizen Romanov arrested by the Russian Provisional Government.
In the spring of 1917, the Petrograd Art and History Commission examining palaces and mansions of St Petersburg aristocracy was sent to Tsarskoe Selo to make an inventory of all property and establish a museum at the former imperial residence. Materials of the Commission, as well as photographs, artworks, palace furnishings and memorial belongings of the imperial family that witnessed the revolutionary turmoil, are presented on our exhibition display.
The exhibition’s section on imperial Russia offers ceremonial attires of the crowned owners of Tsarskoe Selo, as well as their uniforms, private letters and other belongings, and documentary footage of some important events at the Imperial Court by Alexander Yagelsky, a personal cameraman of Nicholas II.
Nearly 150 objects are featured courtesy of the State Archive of the Russian Federation. They illustrate some tragic events of the time with digital copies of the Tsar’s abdication letters (see below, lower left, click to enlarge) and the Provisional Government’s meeting logs, and with photographs of the imperial family under house arrest in the Alexander Palace.
The section on the work of the Art and History Commission shows the Tsarskoe Selo inventory records and cards (see below, lower right), the palaces’ autochrome photographs by Andrei Zeest (below, lower middle), and the furniture and furnishing layouts of the Alexander Palace private rooms. The Commission led by architect George Loukomski made it possible for the Catherine Palace to open for public visiting on 9 June 1918, and for the State Rooms of the Alexander Palace and the Hermitage, Admiralty, Concert Hall, Arsenal and other pavilions on 23 June 1918.
One section is dedicated to the autumn 1917 evacuation of the museum objects to Moscow, where they stayed in the Kremlin for five years until the threat of the German advance to Petrograd was over (below, upper left).
The catalogue of the exhibition is available at the Cameron Gallery. Click pictures above & below to enlarge them
Above, upper left: Petrograd Art and History Commission members packing msueum objects
in Catherine Palace's Church Anteroom for evacuation in autumn 1917.
Above, upper right: French 1860-70s Ferdinand Barbedienne pedestal vase of gilt cast bronze with enamel,
from Catherine Palace's Asiatic Room.
Above, lower left: Nicholas II's abdication letter of 27 March 1917.
Above, lower middle: Colour autochrome of Alexander Palace's Palisander Drawing Room by Andrei Zeest.
Above, lower right: A Chinese Theatre object's inventory card by Petrograd Art and History Commission.